this is "nightline." tonight, disability fraud. this navy veteran wheels his way on to easy street until he ran into legal trouble. caught in the act. convicted of staying well over a million dollars in v.a. benefits. >> i'm not faking anything. wrong. plus the miracle on the hudson hitting the big screen. captain sully in those critical seconds. >> brace for impact. >> what he was looking for in an instant was a flat wide place to land. >> and the questions that followed. >> who is hurt and how badly and i noted a count. why were.
fraud. he said after serving in the military he couldn't use his hands or feet. he couldn't even get out of bed to work. he collected well over a million dollars in disability checks. what was he doing doing roller skating and bungi jumping? >> they say before you judge someone, walk a mile in their issues. >> i'm numb right now. i deal with tremors could not stamly. >> or in dennis run a ten k. >> he lived a very active lifestyle. >> all the while claiming he was too sick to work. >> and too sick to get out of bed most days. >> is it possible to be fully disabled one day and run the next? >> he lived a different life depending on who he was around. when he was around doctors and
benefits. >> there he is arriving for a check-up in his wheelchair. other time on his feet. he appears to be walking just fine. authorities decided to take a closer look at him. >> they're very hard cases to develop. >> that's how the investigator got on the case. >> you were following him. >> yes. take out a camera. start filming him. >> shooting pool. harmless enough, right? >> is it possible that the symptoms come and go? >> he is being paid for loss of use of hands and 100% loss of use of feet, permanently and totally. >> the fact he is walking at all is a sign -- >> inconsistent with what he claimed. >> the v.a. doles out $60 billion a year in disability benefits. mostly to veterans wounded in the line of duty. the vast majority of veterans are entitled to those benefits. but complaints of fraud have nearly tripled over the past
>> all too common. >> like the north carolina postal worker whose workman comp's claim was undone by an appearance on the that's right is rice. or the new york city bus driver who claimed she couldn't drive because of a shoulder injury, caught pounding the drums at a gig. what makes paulsen's case unusual is that he got away with it for years. by the time the v.a. finally caught up with him, he had been scamming the system for 20 years. >> by the time he was caught, he defrauded more than $1.6 million from the government in checks that he got that he should not have. >> 1.6 million? >> 1.6 million. >> the biggest piece of evidence against him didn't come from surveillance. it came from his dead wife's blog. >> one thing that's absent from the blog is canes and wheel chairs. >> in your line of work, is this a smoking gun? >> yes. >> even after he was convicted
"nightline" while under house arrest to tell his side of the story. >> what do you say to the people who see these pictures, who watch these videos and say this guy is a faker. >> i'm not faking anything. i'm trying night disease and get enjoyment out of life when i can. >> he said it started in 1990. after serving two years in the naviering started getting symptoms. >> i could not feel left side of my face and i was having chest pages. i was 19. heart attack? >> he went to bethesda naval hospital and the doctors had bad news. >> they gave may probable diagnosis of ms. >> what does probable mean? within five minutes of him looking at the results of the navy, he said you definitely have ms. >> it was his ticket out of navy entitling him to 30% of his wages for life. no questions asked.
paulsen did ask questions. >> he also researched on the internet the symptoms. so he knew what to say to the doctors when he went in. >> the way the system works, the more disabled you are, the more compensation you need because you need more. ms is a degenerative disease affecting the central nervous system. the symptoms ten to get worse over time and as they do, he would be entitle to more and more benefits. from 1997 on, he convinced v.a. he was 100% disabled. unable to use his hands or feet. unable to work. unable to walk. the blog tells a very different story. >> look at these pictures. you seem like a very active father. you have your boy in the swimming pool. on the swing set. >> yes, ma'am. >> roller skating. >> running, playing football. >> you see how i'm running? i have drop foot.
foot. >> we'll spot you that one. >> here you are on the beach. mr. muscles. >> it is not a muscle disease. that's what people don't understand. it is not a muscle disease. it is a neurological disease. >> and yet you can bunchy jump. >> he actually competed in a marine corps tough mud and run a race like that? surely you're good enough to work. >> every job that i tried, i couldn't do. i looked healthy enough. i would go out to lawn doctor and try to open up the fertilizer bags, and the things would slip out of my hands. here i am. i look healthy. i always fight this disease. we wouldn't even be discussing this if i went to afghanistan or
then you see people with prosthetics competing at the invictus games. >> surely you're not comparing yourself to them. >> that's a problem you can see is what i'm saying. you can see that disability. they get looked at as inspiring. they're like, that's great. he's fighting through this. but i get looked at like i'm a fraud? because you cannot see the disease? y you didn't even finish one tour of duty. >> no. >> why does the military owe you a lifetime of benefits? for 100% of your working life when you are fit enough to do all the active things that we can see you doing in those photos? >> because i'm service connected. >> he is not a wounded warrior. he is service connected. >> at sentencing, the judge ordered him to pay back the $1.6
>> no regrets? >> i wish i had never got diagnosed with ms. i would give anything not to have this disease. >> i believe you. i believe you only. >> but you don't believe me on everything else. >> it is tough to. the jury didn't buy it. why should our viewers? >> nobody on that jury has ms. i didn't get a fair trial because i didn't have a jury of ms. >> the jury should have had ms? >> have for me to get a fair ruling. >> i think the jury was left with the impression that you were dealt a bad card and you played it for all it was worth. >> not true at all. >> the tragic part is that there's a good chance over time, his ms will progress to a point that he is totally disabled. but having cheated the system, it is not clear he would be able to collect the benefits he would otherwise be entitled to. for "nightline" in south
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the new film "sully." >> never get over how beautiful it is up here. >> life is easier in the air. >> miracle on the hudson movie raises a number of challenges, number one, we all know how it ends. >> at any point, did you think i'm going to die? >> no. i never thought i was going to die that day. had even survived, it would have changed it completely. >> it is played by tom hanks. they take the iconic image, the moments not caught on camera, and re-create it. >> may day may day. lost thrust. we're going to end up in the hudson.
plummeting, over one of the most densely populated cities on earth. >> this is the captain. praise for impact. >> brace, brace, brace! hands down stay down! >> in the first seconds, i could feel my blood pressure shoot up my spine. >> i kept thinking we would gain altitude. >> she saw the same thing from her apartment. she was the second to call 911. hudson river. >> in that moment, the retired airline captain drew on his 42 years of flying experience. >> how do you think that clearly in that situation? >> well, the first thing we had to do was to stifle our own bodies' normal physiological response to this sudden life threatening event. >> we have sully, the movie has
will be is me and laura on the phone with each other. >> they first met at an oscar party. >> i asked him, how are you holding up? he is an extremely pragmatic guy. he made the adjustment to being a celebrated celebrity. >> people call you a hero. >> i don't feel like hero. >> there's been too much talk in the press already. >> i'm press. >> how did you do it? >> with some difficulty, with a lot of help. over a period of time you learn to become a public figure. >> there will be renewed clamor for sully. are you scared about that? >> no. >> no. >> it comes with the territory. i think it is important that people know this story. i think as a matter of historical record if nothing else. >> problem number two with this story is sully might have some
hero. you. >> overused in our society which is a shame. >> miracle. >> it was not a miracle. it was many people rising to the occasion. >> tom hank does ask for your opinions. >> he. did i was going to give them regardless but he was very gracious. >> this was duel engine loss at 2,800 feet. >> he was helpful to you in the process trying to play him in. >> help sfl an interesting he proceeded to walk me through the first draft of the screenplay that he had in his possession. it was highlighted, dog eerd, annotated, paper clips. he took me through every item in the script that he had a problem with or a comment on or felt needed more explanation in order to make real. >> i don't get the impression that he would be star struck at all. i don't think he would care less
he didn't care at all, dam it. >> hanks has experience playing real men playing real life heroes. jim lovell in apollo 13. >> i'm the captain. >> why do you think you always get picked to play this kind of role? >> i think i'm an ordinary looking guy. i am this dude with a squeaky voice. my father knows, if you look at who they are, jim lovell was not neil armstrong. he was one of the other astronauts. captain sfips an out of shape middle age white guy. >> back to the first point. i need to know who is hurt. >> how do you make this movie when everyone knows the ending is happy? well, they handled part of the story i 97 heard before. >> i couldn't speak the first few nights.
engine failure due to multiple bird strikes? >> that would be unprecedent. >> and the grueling 15-month investigation to derrell whether sully was heroic or fool hardy in the 208 seconds he had between bird strike and hitting the water. >> was the process with the ntsb as antagonistic as it seemed on film? >> the process is. the individuals were just following their mission. their charter. to define the trut calculated the parameters. >> there was no time to calculate. i had to manage the altitude and speed. >> i eyeballed it. >> the nty came to the same conclusion. hero. >> you were not trained for this. >> the only training we ever got
>> water handling was the only option and he nailed it. for "nightline," hollywood. >> next, the question gripping the internet. who is caring for those kardashian kids when their parents are out partying? and why don't we ever see them? hold onto your forks. endless shrimp is back at red lobster. that means you get to try as much as you want... ...of whatever flavors are calling your name. like new garlic sriracha-grilled shrimp. it's a little spice... ...a little sizzle... ...and a lot just right. and try new parmesan peppercorn shrimp. helloooo crispy goodness. and the classic... ...handcrafted shrimp scampi... ...you can't get enough of? still gonna floor you. it may be called endless...
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finally, speaking as a working parent it would be hard to overstate the importance of having child care you can trust. my son's nanny is a central part of our family. so what does this have to do with the kardashians? ha >> hey, you want to go on a pony ride? >> they're the youngest stars of keeping one the kardashians. mason, penelope, reign. >> this gives me life, guys. >> so when they're not stealing the spotlight, they're spending time with their celebrity parents. who is watching them? likely their nannies. asking why the hit series doesn't show them writing, he
transparent and real are they invisible? even passing references would go a long way toward normalizing the realities of everyday childcare. however, there are many celebrities that have long embraced their nannies. in this "snl" skit. >> when it comes to keeping up - diaper changes and crying kids over partying and elaborate vacations? maybe not. and our thanks to you for watching abc news. join us for gma in the morning.